US Official Supports Surveillance on the Eve of European Union Data Ruling

A senior US official said, “US intelligence does not conduct mass, indiscriminate harvesting of foreigners’ private data,” on the eve of an EU court ruling, which is deemed to affect several companies including Facebook and related websites.

Robert Litt, who is the legal adviser to the Director of National Intelligence, firmly invalidated all allegations suggesting that Prism, an US surveillance program, allows US officials to look into personal data and information on vast scale.

Litt went ahead and wrote in the Financial Times, “Prism is focused and reasonable. It does not involve ‘mass’ and ‘unrestricted’ collection of data.”

The existence of Prism was leaked in the year 2013 by Edward Snowden, a former NSA agent. This revelation instigated Max Schrems, an Austrian student, to file a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to challenge the transfers of European user’s data to US servers by Facebook.

This case is now being heard in the European Court of Justice, which will be ruled on Tuesday. The ruling will be done on the validity of the total legal framework, called Safe Harbour, which lets more than 4000 firms, from airlines to social media groups to transmit data to the US from the EU.

With the abolishment of Safe Harbour, every kind of transfers would be either restricted or become more expensive and time consuming, under EU laws that forbid data-sharing with nations considered to have lesser privacy standards like the US.

US officials are eagerly waiting for the outcome to decide ways to collect data in the future. The commission is expected to give a news conference on Tuesday at 1500 CET in response to the ruling. … Read the rest

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Apple iOS 9.0.2 Resolves A Lot Of Old Issues

Apple iOS 9.0.2Apple iOS 9.0.2 has received a new update, which has been rolled out to fix bugs and resolve issues of iCloud Back Up and iMessage activation. It will also fix issues of incorrect rotation of screen while receiving messages.

We updated the iPhone 6 soon after getting the update and saw many improvements on. No one can bypass the locked screen anymore, which was a major issue for many iPhone users. The security patch in the new update has fixed safety issues so your data, contacts, photos are completely secure.

There were complaints regarding the settings menu as well. We spoke to one of the users who told us that he was unable to get into the settings of phones. “I was not able to make any changes. With the new update, the issue has been fixed and I hope it stay like this,” he says.

iCloud backup concerns have also been taken care of.  “Oh, yes what a relief. There were times when the back-up would automatically stop if I started the manual back-up. I backed up my phone immediately after getting the update,” says Sunny Aggarwal.

The iMessage activation has also been fixed. Apparently, users we spoke to did not face any problems with iMessage but from Apple’s end it has been fixed.

Meanwhile, Apple’s recently released the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6 Plus phones, which have seen a record sale. The phones will be released in India on October 16.… Read the rest

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Edward Snowden Joins Twitter; 1 Million Followers In 24 Hours

Edward SnowdenTwitter has found a way with Edward Snowden—the man of the moment who doubles as a fugitive and is best known as an erstwhile National Security Agency contractor. He opened an account on the micro blogging site on Tuesday from Russia, where he is currently on exile. Within 24 hours, he has reached 1 million followers.

Best known for leaking massive surveillance secrets of the US government, Snowden is clearly not just a speck in the digital world anymore. And his handle seems to be as uptight as he is @snowden. His Twitter bio says: I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.

The whopping followers’ saga

Right after he opened an account, Snowden attracted 171,000 followers—all within one hour and by the time the day was half way through, this followers’ list grew to 740,000. That speaks a lot about the fan-dom this man enjoys.

Ironically, Snowden is following a single account—the National Security Agency. Snowden even went so far as to tweet, “Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter”. Fort Meade is the NSA’s Army base in Maryland.

Snowden’s first tweet read, “Can you hear me now?” A rip off from an advert of a cell phone provider seen on television, Snowden’s first tweet alone saw 25,000 retweets within one hour.

Some individuals who seem to support Snowden believe he is a classic whistleblower who lifted the lid off the excesses indulged in by the American government. However, the latter went on to file charges for espionage against Snowden. The government believes that he leaked intelligence information. Following all this, Snowden left USA in May 2013 and made Russia his home post grant of asylum there in the later part of 2013.

First reactions from Tweeple

The first reactions over social media to the Twitter account opening from Snowden have been positive. According to Thomson Reuters’s proprietary algorithm that scoured Twitter mentions or tweets about @snowden, it was revealed that there were 1,109 positive tweets against just 156 negative ones within the first hour of Snowden’s opener tweet.

Echoing popular sentiment, people around the world including IT analysts Naveen Maudgal from Ericsson, Noida and Anuj Jain from Oracle, Hyderabad, in India have labeled “Snowden as a geek and interesting man, instead of a traitor of sorts.”

During his initial hours on Twitter, Snowden also tweeted and retweeted exchanges with Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and popular radio talk-show. Incidentally, Tyson had earlier suggested that Snowden must get on to Twitter while interviewing the latter on his show earlier in September.

Wrapping Up

In fact, now that the tweeting saga from @snowden has begun, we got to know that this man is interested in stuff such as the Martian water discovery as well as his work for the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He did mention his fetish for cat pictures amid so much, though.… Read the rest

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Internet.org Is Now FreeBasics But Why?

net neutralityFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now considering a change in name for the controversial internet.org platform. Now being called Free Basics, it is meant to provide web access to more people by offering it free of cost. Free Basics will also allow these new users to enjoy complimentary services from around 250 partners.

Supported by leading mobile phone manufacturing companies like Nokia and Samsung, this free internet service from Facebook aims to connect around 4.4 billion people who are yet to be introduced to the online world.


Who will benefit? 

Eventually, Free Basics aims to connect areas that don’t have internet connectivity. This will be done using drones and laser technology. But currently, the platform aims to bring low network areas such as 2G networks under the Free Basics bandwagon. 

People living in India and other developing nations are going to benefit from the service. Surveys indicate that people living in remote areas will receive better guidance for pregnancy care, parenting, education and even farming using free internet services. 

Read more about the debate: The Net Neutrality Debate: Larger Than You Thought

What is the catch?

The concept of Free Basics is in direct contrast with the concept of net neutrality that smaller players and the advocates of internet are against. Subscribing to Free Basics implies only players who pay the provider will be accessible to users.

Ever since the internet has penetrated Indian households, it has given opportunity to entrepreneurs to expand and innovate. When they will have to start paying to be seen and heard on the internet, the market will only be available for the giants in every vertical.

For the end user, this means they will not have access to the new players. They would have restricted access to news, information and e-commerce.

 

When the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi met Mark Zuckerberg, this issue has been brought to light once again. … Read the rest

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Interview: NearGroup App Gets Neighbours Closer

While IIT Madras alumni Prashant Pitti was busy preparing for a marathon, he realized he needed company in the neighborhood. He was not motivated enough to run all by himself and was looking for someone who could train with him but struggled to find a neighbor to do that. Thus came the idea to launch an app that would connect you to people in the neighborhood–the Near Group app. NearGroup

Near Group app is a platform where people get to meet like-minded people. “We live in a digital world and there is no better way to interact, than in virtual groups,” says Pitti. This, the app makes socializing easy, he adds. Read on to know how Pitti thinks his new venture will bring like-minded people closer and make life easier.

What are the unique aspects of Near-Group app?

Pitti: It brings compatible people under one roof. In the times when everyone is leading a busy lifestyle, our app give you the opportunity to interact with neighbors who seldom step out of their houses.

How does it work?

Pitti: You can register on the app via Facebook. You can also request an invitation to the app on Neargroup.in. It allows people of the same location with similar interests become members of niche groups when they sign up.

How do users ensure that they are interacting with genuine people?

Pitti: No member can become the part of the group without going through a screening process. Their Facebook profiles are thoroughly screened before anyone is made the member of the group.

What you think of local businesses coming online?

Pitti: It is great that people are finally realizing the potential of digital media. Selling your products online is only a peek into the future.

What response have you got with Near Group app?

Pitti: The response has been tremendous. More than 15060 people have registered with the app till now.
 … Read the rest

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Top 4 Apps Businessmen Could Use

While you are busy using apps on your phone to enhance battery, manage fitness or use interesting things, here’s something you might have missed. There are many apps that you can use to make working easier. We look at the top 5 business apps that make daily work a real breeze.

Here are top 5 highly recommended business apps:

Dropbox: It gets annoying when you lose your files while writing or editing. Dropbox automatically syncs your file and stores it for viewing next time. It offers upto 2 GB storage. You can also save your files and videos for an additional space of 3GB. You can buy more space by shelling out a few dollars. I save all my data in Dropbox and I think there is nothing better than this when it comes to storing digital files.

Mint.com:  Want someone else to a keep track of your spending and saving, let Mint.com  do it. The app tells you how to save money and creates a monthly budget based on your needs.

Trip It:  For those who are  regular business travellers, Trip It is a must have app. It lets you plan and share your itineraries. What you need is send the emails of different bookings to plans@tripit.com and it will organize everything for you.

Adobe Reader: This is another app which lets you read and access files comfortably. It helps you highlight, underline and strike off the unwanted things. The best part, it allows to you to add a signature as well.

Microsoft Office: Be prepared to open files in different formats with the Microsoft Office app for phones and tablets. It includes Word, Powerpoint and Excel with large and convenient buttons.  

 

 … Read the rest

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What People Think Of Free Wi-Fi Access At Indian Railway Stations: Find Out

Free Wi-Fi at railway stations will soon become a reality. Indian Railways has collaborated with Google to create free Wi-Fi zone across 400 railway stations. The users will be able to browse on the go and chat/skype with the friends as they commute.

However, the flip side  to this free Wi-Fi access is that speed will be reduced after 34 minutes. The passengers will be able to connect to Wi-Fi after verifying their no. The project is at the moment in its initial stage.

Once implemented it will drastically change the way the Indians travel. We asked some daily commuters about the how they feell about free Wi-Fi facility. Here is what they have to say:

 Rikhil Singh who commutes daily from Ghaziabad to Delhi says, “ t will allow me to catch up on the latest news. I ama huge cricket buffand with free Wi-Fi. I will be able to stream the matches, without missing a single shot.”

 “Sometimes when I get late from work, I have to miss my favorite serial, with Wi-Fi I will be able to stream it and watch as I travel, “ says banker, Mrs Kusum who is a daily passenger.

For Businessman Karunesh Verma, maintaining work life balance will be easy. As with the ease of  free Wi-Fi, he will be able to finish the pending office work in the train.

The free Wi-Fi will also provide travellers the real time travelling information. The travellers will also be able to relax and chat with their family and friends as they wait to catch their respective trains.

Free Wi-Fi on railway station is just a step closer to modernisation… we are indeed evolving. … Read the rest

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Porsche Showcases Mission E Concept Car

porsche E MissionPorsche released its latest Mission E concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. This vehicle, which is expected to outrun the Tesla, comprises two electric motors and generates 600 horsepower. Porsche has said that this concept render could be available for sale in another 5 years.

Mission E Specifications

This concept car has been designed as a sedan, complete with four seats and four doors. The all-electric car will probably come with 600 HP system power and can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.

The battery soaks up 80 percent power within 15 minutes of charge time. With this charge, it would be able to drive for around 400 km, a company release suggests. With a 800 volt drive infrastructure, this car is expected to have a futuristic performance.

Looking Deeper

The cabin in this concept car comes with high-end features such as an eye-tracker and an OLED-curved dashboard display. It also allows the display to adjust depending on the position of the driver’s seat. Better still, the car can even understand the driver’s mood thanks to a camera provided on the rear-view mirror.

What Porsche Says?

Porsche global head of research and development Wolfgang Hatz has admitted that they have been asked why there has been no effort to make an electric car for so long now. As of now, there is no news about the plausible pricing ofthe car. Hatz signed off saying, “The Porsche is always worth its price”.… Read the rest

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Digital India Programme To Unite Nation, Says Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Digital India programme initiated by the Narendra Modi government will change the future of India while also uniting the country, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister for Communication and Information Technology at Gurgaon on Monday. He was there for the launch of a scheme from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for internet broadband users who will now be able to surf the web at speeds of at least 2Mbps.

 India’s Phone User Sector

 He also asserted that Modi desires to provide all governmental facilities via smartphones in the near future. Close to 98 crore people use mobile phones in India and the total figure of phone users inclusive of mobiles and land lines stand at 102 crore. Out of these, Indian users with internet stand at 35 crore.

 Modi’s IT Formula

 Modi’s new thumb rule is IT+IT=IT, that is, India’s Talent + Information Technology = India of Tomorrow. Prasad stated that IT is primarily used in the big cities primarily but the government intends to implement rural Business Process Outsourcing systems for mass-scale implementation. The scheme will see establishment of close to 480 call centers.  About the BSNL scheme launched, the Minister says, “This scheme is expected to attract new customers for subscribing BSNL Broadband customers in an affordable manner.” This is a milestone for BSNL that had launched its broadband services back in the year 2005 with speeds of 256Kbps.… Read the rest

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Is 900 mn Users Enough to Make WhatsApp a Feasible Economic Model?

The popular messaging platform WhatsApp has reached 900 million active users this week. Could this make the messaging app a real business model? Facebook board member and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum yesterday announced that they have reached 900 million users but did not give any hint on their plans to transform it into a business model.

Is 900 million users enough to make WhatsApp a feasible economic model?WhatsApp reaches 900 million active users

WhatsApp became tremendously popular since its introduction to the market in 2009. Of the 900 million registered users, 100 million registrations were made in just five months.

Though the company has achieved some great feats in the last few months, it has not been able to make a successful presence in the United States. If the company wants to grow as an economic model, it will have to increase base in the US as well.

 Facebook to monetize WhatsApp

Facebook’s US$19 billion deal with WhatsApp is always considered one of the significant acquisitions in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerbarg has already mentioned that the platform would be monetized as and when it reaches 1 billion active users.

Though there is no confirmation from the company, it is believed that it will be clubbed with Facebook Messenger to make it feasible. WhatsApp has so far strictly followed, “No Ads, No Games, No Gimmicks” policy and is expected to retain that even after transforming it into an economic model. … Read the rest

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